Grocery buyers do not always have a good image and the power they wield has once again come under the spotlight recently with the Safeway auction and the code of practice review. But buyers are also the consumer's champion and many are respected and admired by the suppliers with whom they deal.
So The Grocer is delighted to launch the first in a monthly feature called Six of the Best. Each month we will be asking suppliers, both big and small, to nominate the best buyers in a category. The criteria are negotiating skills, how easy they are to access, their ability to communicate, and how well they deliver on their promises.
We start with Dairy and below spotlight the top six buyers, as chosen by the suppliers. The reasons for their nominations are varied but all were seen to drive a hard bargain while maintaining a level of fairness and professionalism.
Of Nisa-Today's Trevor Standing, one supplier said: "Trevor is quite ferocious but he is also a guy who is direct and honest" while another said Sainsbury's Sarah Swindell has "a sense of fun and focus and the human being hasn't been taken out of her yet". One manufacturer described the Co-operative Group's Rachel Bain as "straightforward and easy to communicate with. She doesn't promise anything she can't deliver but doesn't give much away." Somerfield's Prasheel Kunwardia was praised for being realistic and seeing both points of view.
Honorary mentions go to Safeway's Wendy Myers, Asda's David Storey, Tesco's Chris Rigby and the Co-operative Group's Mike Owen.